AIR TO AIR MISSILES

AA-11

 

The Vympel R-73 (NATO reporting name AA-11 Archer) developed by Vympel machine Building Design Bureau, is the most modern Russian short-range air-to-air missile.

The Vympel R-73 (NATO name AA-11 Archer) developed by Vympel machine Building Design Bureau, is the most modern Russian short-range air-to-air missile.
 

The R-73 was developed to replace the earlier R-60 (AA-8 'Aphid') weapon for short-range use by Soviet fighter aircraft. Work began in 1973, and the first missiles entered service in 1985.



The R-73 is an infrared-guided (heat-seeking) missile with a sensitive, cryogenic cooled seeker with a substantial "off-boresight" capability: the seeker can "see" targets up to 60 off the missile's centerline. It can be targeted by a helmet-mounted sight allowing pilots to designate targets by looking at them. Minimum engagement range is about 300 meters, with maximum aerodynamic range of nearly 30 km (18.75 mi) at altitude.

The R-73 is a highly manoeuvrable missile that in most respects is believed to be superior to the United States AIM-9M Sidewinder, a fact demonstrated by the reunified German Luftwaffe winning all dogfight engagements with their MiG-29/R-73 combine against the F-16/AIM-9M combination fielded by the USAF, prompting the development of Sidewinder and other SRM successors like AIM-132 ASRAAM, IRIS-T, MICA IR, Python IV and the latest Sidewinder variant, AIM-9X, that entered squadron service in 2003.

From 1994 the R-73 has been upgraded in production to R-74EM standard (originally R-73M), which entered CIS service in 1997. The R-74EM has greater range and a wider seeker angle (to 60 off-boresight), as well as improved IRCCM (InfraRed Counter-Counter Measures).

The weapon is used by the MiG-29, Su-27, Su-32 and Su-35, and can be carried by newer versions of the MiG-21, MiG-23, Sukhoi Su-24, and Su-25 aircraft. India is looking to use the missile on the Light Combat Aircraft. It can also be carried by Russian attack helicopters, including the Mil Mi-24, Mil Mi-28, and Kamov Ka-50.
 

AA-11 Specifications
Type Short range intercept missile
Manufacturer Vympel
Weight 110kg
Warhead 7.4kg expanding rod
Length 2.9m
Diameter 170mm
Performance Max speed Mach 2.5, range 30km